The skies were darkening on the horizon of John the Baptist’s life. Arrested and imprisoned by King Herod, John, who had lived outdoors for so many years, now languished in a small, dreary cell, cut off from all that was familiar. No longer able to preach. No prospect of release.
After weeks of suffering, a foreboding voice began to assert itself within his head. At first a whisper and then a drumbeat, it raised the unthinkable question. “Was Jesus really the Messiah?” Up until that point, John had felt such strong assurance, such invincible faith. His mind was convinced that Jesus was the Anointed One.
But now the Baptist struggled. “If He is the Messiah,” the voice insisted, “why hasn’t He delivered you?” John tried to push such thoughts away, but they only grew stronger, “Your life has been a waste,” it mocked. “All that preparation, all that sacrifice. How could you imagine that a Carpenter from Nazareth was the Expected One? Nothing but a mirage.” The voice was sucking the life and optimism out of the jailed man’s heart.
Eventually John had to find out if the question was true, so he sent emissaries to ask Jesus directly. Christ simply pointed to the miraculous works He was doing every day as a clear indication He was divine. It was enough to renew John’s faith and put his thinking back on track (see Matthew 11:1-6).
Here was the person of whom Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). And yet even John had to wrestle with two opposing voices that were engaged in a tug of war within his mind — one life-giving, the other life-sapping. John’s habit of focusing people’s attention on Jesus was imperiled by this inner strife.
We all face moments of doubt. When that happens, talk to God. Continue trusting Him. Although we cannot know the future, we can know that God is on our side and only has our best in mind. He longs for us to trust Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. Look up to God, focus on Him and allow His love and mercy to calm your soul. By focusing on Him and His transformational love, you will be lifted above your challenges. Knowing Him brings healing and inner peace.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You and to always trust You so that I can experience the peace that only You can give. Amen